Fiery Searcher: All You Need to Know in 5 Minutes

The Fiery Searcher, scientifically known as Calosoma scrutator, is an eye-catching beetle with striking bright green coloration. Commonly known as the Caterpillar Hunter, this large ground beetle plays a vital role in controlling caterpillar populations in various habitats.

Native to North America, the Fiery Searcher can be found all over the continent, particularly in areas with dense tree populations such as riparian areas along rivers and streams. They also exist in urban areas with a high concentration of trees source. Not to be mistaken with its close relative, Calosoma wilcoxi, the Fiery Searcher is generally larger, measuring between 25-35 mm in length source.

With their flattened body and long legs, Fiery Searchers are specially adapted for hunting caterpillars on trees and bushes. Apart from being a natural pest control agent, these stunning beetles also serve as an interesting topic for nature enthusiasts and researchers alike.

Fiery Searcher Overview

Classification and Terminology

The Fiery Searcher, also known as the Caterpillar Hunter, is a ground beetle with the scientific name Calosoma scrutator. It belongs to the order Coleoptera, family Carabidae, and genus Calosoma. This beetle is classified under the following hierarchical categories:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Suborder: Adephaga
  • Family: Carabidae
  • Genus: Calosoma

The Fiery Searcher Beetle can be found throughout North America, from southern Canada to Mexico and even as far south as Venezuela. It is particularly abundant in the eastern US states.

This beetle features a bright metallic green body with deeply grooved elytra edged in reddish-orange. Its size ranges from 25-35 mm, making it one of the larger species within the family Carabidae. It’s similar in appearance to a closely related native species, Calosoma wilcoxi.

Comparing the two species:

Feature Calosoma scrutator Calosoma wilcoxi
Size 25-35 mm 18-26 mm
Metallic green color Yes Yes
Red setae on the tip of middle tibiae (males only) Yes No

The Fiery Searcher has the following key characteristics:

  • Metallic green body with reddish-orange elytra edges.
  • Adult size ranges from 25 to 35 mm.
  • Can be encountered from April to November.
  • Predominantly found in the eastern US states.

In summary, the Fiery Searcher (Calosoma scrutator) is a stunning ground beetle that belongs to the order Coleoptera. Its bright metallic green color and reddish-orange edges make it an eye-catching insect. It can be found across North America, with higher populations in the eastern states.

Physical Characteristics

Color and Size

The Fiery Searcher, also known as the caterpillar hunter, is a type of ground beetle known for its distinctive appearance. It has a metallic green body, often with copper-orange accents, making it quite a colorful insect. Its elytra, or wing covers, are metallic green with a gold border and red edging. These beetles have big eyes that help them locate their prey.

Unique Features

A notable characteristic of the Fiery Searcher is its ridged body, which gives it an armored appearance. Here are some key features:

  • Metallic green body
  • Copper-orange accents
  • Gold border around elytra
  • Ridged body
  • Large eyes

Below is a comparison table of the Fiery Searcher’s physical characteristics:

Feature Description
Color Metallic green & copper-orange
Size 20 mm – 35 mm long
Elytra Metallic green with gold border
Eyes Large and prominent
Body Shape Ridged, armored appearance

These vivid colors and unique features make the Fiery Searcher a fascinating and easily recognizable insect in the world of beetles.

Behavior and Habitat

Feeding and Hunting Habits

The Fiery Searcher, also known as the caterpillar hunter, is a type of ground beetle that preys on caterpillars and other small insects. These predators are beneficial to gardens as they help control pests.

  • Feeding habits: They are known to climb trees and other vegetation to hunt for caterpillars and insects.
  • Hunting strategy: Emerging at night, they search for their prey using their acute sense of smell.

Habitat Preferences

The Fiery Searcher can be found across many parts of North America, from Canada to Mexico and Venezuela. They inhabit a variety of environments, such as forests, grasslands, and orchards.

  • Cover: These beetles prefer to take cover under leaves, rocks, or within the soil during the day.
  • Winter: They spend the winter in a dormant state, buried in the soil for protection.

Pros and Cons of Fiery Searchers in Gardens

Pros:

  • Natural pest control, reducing the need for pesticides
  • Help to maintain a balanced ecosystem within the garden

Cons:

  • Potential to be a nuisance if they become too numerous
Comparison Fiery Searcher Other Ground Beetles
Distribution North America, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela Varies depending on species
Habitat Preferences Forests, grasslands, orchards Varies depending on species
Feeding and Hunting Targets caterpillars and small insects Some feed on plants or seeds
Benefits Natural pest control in gardens Some can help with pest control

Life Cycle and Reproduction

Eggs and Larvae

The Fiery Searcher’s reproductive process begins in spring when females lay their eggs. These eggs hatch into larvae, which possess strong mandibles and six legs. Some notable characteristics of Fiery Searcher larvae include:

  • Size: Relatively large compared to other beetle larvae
  • Color: A shiny gold or metallic green appearance
  • Prey: Known for preying on gypsy moth larvae and other garden pests

Pupation and Maturation

Following the larval stage, Fiery Searchers undergo pupation, transforming from larvae to adults. The process of pupation takes place in cells, which they create by excavating soil. Adult Fiery Searchers display several distinctive features:

  • Elytra: Hardened wing covers that protect their delicate wings
  • Wings: Two sets of wings, necessary for flight
  • Abdomen: Long and narrow, extending beyond the elytra

Adult Fiery Searchers are not only striking in appearance but also long-lived, allowing them to become a beneficial presence in gardens and woodlands alike. They continue to prey on pests, such as gypsy moth larvae, which can cause significant damage to plants and trees.

Comparison Table: Larvae vs. Adult Fiery Searchers

Stage Size Color Notable Features
Larvae Large for larvae Gold or metallic green Strong mandibles; preys on gypsy moth larvae
Adult Larger than larvae Shiny, iridescent Elytra; two sets of wings; long, narrow abdomen

Utilizing the Fiery Searcher beetle for pest control offers several benefits and drawbacks:

Pros:

  • Naturally preys on gypsy moth larvae and other pests
  • Long-lived adults provide extended periods of pest control
  • Attractive and interesting addition to gardens and woodlands

Cons:

  • Predation may not fully eliminate pest populations
  • Some care is required to ensure their habitat is maintained

Fiery Searcher as Beneficial Insect

Role in Pest Control

The Fiery Searcher (Calosoma scrutator) is a large, bright green beetle known for its importance in pest control. It has flattened bodies and long legs, which help it to move quickly. It preys on many destructive pests like gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) and tent caterpillars (Malacosoma spp.) which can be harmful to gardens and orchards.

Feeding habits:

  • Predators of garden and forest pests
  • Can reduce infestations of caterpillars and moths
  • Hunt their prey at night, throughout the U.S., including Virginia and Ohio

Attracting Fiery Searchers to Your Garden

Fiery searchers are attracted to gardens with a variety of vegetation, including trees and plants that serve as habitats for their prey. Here are some tips to attract these predators to your garden:

  • Plant a diverse range of plants to provide shelter and food for the beetle’s prey
  • Include trees in your garden, as they provide habitats for caterpillars and other pests that Fiery Searchers feed on
  • Avoid using pesticides, which may harm the Fiery Searcher population

Comparison table of habitats:

Habitats Fiery Searchers Other Predators
Gardens Yes Yes
Orchards Yes Yes
Forests Yes Yes
Grasslands No Yes

By attracting Fiery Searchers to your garden, you can help maintain a healthy balance of beneficial insects and reduce the need for harmful chemical pesticides.

Defense Mechanisms

Chemical Defenses

The Fiery Searcher, also known as the endaceous beetle, employs chemical defenses to avoid predation. One of its primary tactics is releasing a foul-smelling oil when threatened. This distasteful substance deters predators, as well as damages the exoskeletons of its prey, like defoliators.

Examples of chemical defenses:

  • Foul-smelling oil secretion
  • Caustic chemicals to weaken prey exoskeletons

Physical Defenses

In addition to chemical strategies, the Fiery Searcher also relies on physical defenses. One notable feature is its prothoracic shield, a strong barrier that protects the head and thorax from potential predators. The beetle’s impressive jaw provides a powerful pinch, further dissuading would-be attackers. Its legs are well-suited for navigating difficult terrain, like rocks, making it harder for predators to pursue.

Comparison table:

Physical Defense Function Example
Prothoracic shield Protects head and thorax Acts as a strong barrier to shield from predators
Jaw Delivers a powerful pinch Can deter would-be attackers by causing pain
Legs Navigates difficult terrain Enables the beetle to traverse rocks, avoiding pursuit

Physical defense characteristics:

  • Strong prothoracic shield
  • Powerful jaws for pinching
  • Agile legs for navigating rough terrain

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Fiery Hunter

 

GIANT DEATH BUG!!!
Hey bug-peoples!
This thing just scared the hell out of me!! It’s getting to be about midnite-ish and I was heading to bed when this copper-coloured death beetle streaks across the carpet sending me running into the next room like a sissy! I’m absolutely terrified by the size of it….so of course I plop a quarter down next to it, trap it under a glass and get my camera! I tried to get as close as I could so you could see the pretty bump-pattern on it’s back and the sheer magnitude of it’s teeth-mandible things. So here ya go! What is this thing?? Now I am off to scoop it up and release it outside….. if it somehow escaped in the middle of the night, I’m pretty sure it could kill me…. Oh! I’m in Battleford, Saskatchewan if it helps! Thanks alot!!
Lindsay

Hi Lindsay,
We are happy to hear that despite your terror, you released the Fiery Hunter after the photo session. The Fiery Hunter, Calosoma calidum, is one of the Caterpillar Hunters, a genus of large, conspicuous beetles. As their name implies, they feed on caterpillars, and are an important natural biological control agent. Without predators like Caterpillar Hunters, plant eating species would devour our food supply.

Letter 2 – Fiery Hunter

 

Black Caterpillar Hunter or European Ground Beetle
Hi Daniel,
Once again I am seeking your help in identifying a bug that crossed my path. This one has proven quite difficult, but with much googling and searching through ALL of your beetle pages, I’ve narrowed it down to a few possibilities. From some photos I found on page 13, my beetle appears to be the black caterpillar hunter, either calosoma calidum or calosoma sayi . I have also found images on Bug Guide that match my beetle (as far as I can tell), but it lists it as carabus nemoralis – a European ground beetle which can be found in "every Canadian province except Manitoba; south on the west coast to California, and inland to Nevada and Montana; in the east, may be spreading into northeastern US". The beetle was at least an inch in length and was found on the sidewalk outside my house. As usual, any information you can give me is greatly appreciated. Huge Fan
Yvonne
Barrie, Ontario

hi again Yvonne,
You have been one of our most regular contributors through the years. Once we looked at your large image, we have determined that this is a Fiery Hunter, Calosoma calidum, one of the Caterpillar Hunters, but not the Black Caterpillar Hunter. The Fiery Hunter is, according to BugGuide: “Large, black, elytra with brilliant red, rounded punctures (1)or yellow/gold punctures as in this specimen. ” The punctures on your specimen are clearly visible in the photo and they are gold.

Letter 3 – European Ground Beetle

 

Can you help me identify this beetle?
May 26, 2010
Dear Bugman,
My son is working on a Boy Scout merit badge and he needs to identify insects. He is having trouble figuring out what kind of beetle this is. Can you help him?
Debbie B.
Cleveland OH

European Ground Beetle

Hi Debbie,
Based on the images posted to BugGuide, we are quite certain your species of Caterpillar Hunter is the Fiery Hunter, Calosoma calidum, based on the dimples in the elytra.

Hi Daniel!
Thanks so much for the identification.  My son will be thrilled.
I don’t think he even noticed the “dimples” on the one he saw
since they aren’t as prominate as the ones on the website.
Thanks again.
Debbie

Correction
This is actually Carabus nemoralis.
Mardikavana

Thanks for the correction Markikavana.  At least we had the tribe correct.  BugGuide also has nice images of the European Ground Beetle, Carabus nemoralis.

Letter 4 – Fiery Hunter from Canada

 

Subject: A black beetle with red spots
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
June 17, 2013 7:10 am
I saw this beetle while walking on a trail in a grassy field near Edmonton, Alberta in June 2013. There were two of them but one of the scurried off when I approached. This one was half burried in the sandy soil. The spots on the back caught my attention so I took a couple quick pictures and decided to look it up when I got home. Now I wish I had taken more pictures because not all parts are clearly vissible and I have not found any bugs quite like it. It looks like some of the darkling beetles but the pits on the back with the red spots seem to be uncommon. I am just curious to know what kind it is.
Signature: Jason

Fiery Hunter
Fiery Hunter

Dear Jason,
This is one of the Ground Beetles commonly called Caterpillar Hunters because both adults and larvae feed primarily upon caterpillars.  We are confident that we have correctly identified your Caterpillar Hunter as a Fiery Hunter,
Callisthenes calidus formerly Calosoma calidum, based on photos posted to BugGuide.

Letter 5 – Fiery Searcher

 

Oklahoma Beetle
Hello there,
My boyfriend caught a beetle last night and doesn’t know what it is. It was found in Norman, Oklahoma.

This is a species of Caterpillar Hunter known as the Fiery Searcher, Calosoma scrutator.

Letter 6 – Fiery Searcher

 

Caterpiller Hunter?
Hello,
I am sending photos of a large beetle I found. Someone told me it was a Caterpillar Hunter. I had never seen or heard of it before. I looked on your website for an ID but did not find one. Maybe I have the wrong name. Could you let me know the correct name for this beetle. It had beautiful colors when the sun was out. Sincerely,
Annette Oliveira
Long Island, NY

Hi Annette,
This gorgeous Caterpillar Hunter is known as the Fiery Searcher, Calosoma scrutator. We did hear that our search engine was not working properly yesterday, but it is fully operational today.

Letter 7 – Fiery Searcher

 

Caterpillar Hunter
I found this beautiful Caterpillar Hunter in my back yard. He (or she) is about an inch long and is quick, so I could not get a size reference object next to it. Nevertheless, the picture came out pretty good.
Jeffrey Cox
Dallas , Texas

Hi Jeffrey,
Your beautiful Caterpillar Hunter is a Fiery Searcher, Calosoma scrutator.

Letter 8 – Fiery Searcher

 

Large Green Beetle
August 25, 2009
Hello again. Thank you for your help identifying the interesting insects I find. I love your web page and have managed to identify most of my finds using it and bug guide. This large green beetle almost got squashed as it was sitting on the cement step. I found quite a few green beetles here and on bug guide but none seem to quite match this one. It’s about 1.25 -1.5 inches long. It crawled surprisingly fast up and down my arm as I was trying to take it’s picture. It was also flighted, though it seemed to prefer to walk. The second pic is just for size, my watchband is 1 inch wide where the logo is.
Jess
Rhode Island

Fiery Searcher
Fiery Searcher

Hi Jess,
Your impressive beetle is a Ground Beetle in the genus Calosoma, the Caterpillar Hunters.  The species is Calosoma scrutator, the Fiery Searcher.  You can read more about the Fiery Searcher on BugGuide which states:  “Life cycle is one year, but adults long-lived, reported to live for up to three years. Adults attracted to lights. Eggs are laid singly in soil. Larvae pupate in earthen cells. Adults can overwinter.

Letter 9 – Fiery Searcher

 

Green Beetle (?)
May 10, 2010
We found our beetle in our classroom during insect week (how lucky) so we were wondering if you could tell us what kind of beetle he is…
From Ms. Boehm’s Class
Houston, TX

Fiery Searcher

Dear Ms. Boehm’s Class,
This Fiery Searcher, Calosoma scrutator, is a type of Caterpillar Hunter.  This large, colorful beetle is frequently illustrated in insect books.

Letter 10 – Fiery Searcher

 

Amazing green beetle in Illinois
June 16, 2010
I found this beetle hiding under my daughter’s plastic playset. I captured it and took photos, while attempting to keep the cat from snatching it. To be honest, it was so huge and had such prominent pinchers, I was more worried for the cat than the beetle.
It’s June and sunny out – about 80 degrees. We have a lush garden.
It seemed to be at least .75″ wide by 1″ long…
Even though I turned him loose (after shooing away the Cat), I’ve been wondering all day if I found something Amazing….
TolerantOfBugs
Near Chicago Illinois

Fiery Searcher

Dear TolerantOfBugs,
This spectacular Ground Beetle is a Caterpillar Hunter known as a Fiery Searcher, Calosoma scrutator.  It may give a painful nip if carelessly handled.  The Fiery Searcher is an important predator that helps keeping the population of caterpillars in check.

Fiery Searcher

Letter 11 – Fiery Searcher

 

Fiery Searcher?
June 28, 2010
I saw this guy while on vacation in Arkansas. I loved his metallic coloring! I started researching to put a name to him, and much to my surprise, I found a similar picture on your site a few pages back! I hope I am correct in assuming this is a fiery searcher.
Cassie Shaw
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Fiery Searcher

Hi Cassie,
Congratulations on your proper identification of this Fiery Searcher, Calosoma scrutator, one of the Caterpillar Hunters.

Letter 12 – Fiery Searcher

 

Fiery Searcher
Location:  North Middle Tennessee
August 28, 2010 9:07 am
I owe this one to the kittens as they were the ones that found it. It was first at the tree line going into the woods. I tried taking a photo, however it was moving too fast. I ran inside for a container to catch it, but it was gone when I got back. A little later they had it surrounded in the yard. I captured it for a photo and then released it.
Richard

Fiery Searcher

Hi Richard,
Our readership will be happy that you have included a measuring tape to indicate the large size of the Caterpillar Hunter known as a Fiery Searcher.

Letter 13 – Fiery Searcher

 

Big Green Beetle
Location: Enid, Oklahoma
May 12, 2011 3:50 pm
Hi! I found this beetle on our front porch at dusk a few nights ago. We live in Enid, OK. My son and I are wondering what type of bettle it is and what we can feed it. Would greatly appreciate your help! Thanks so much!
Signature: luvmyrorys

Fiery Searcher

Dear luvmyrorys,
This magnificent beetle is a Caterpillar Hunter known as the Fiery Searcher,
Calosoma scrutator.  It has a ravenous appetite and it is instrumental in keeping caterpillar populations under control.  You will need to capture many caterpillars to keep it well fed and you may be better off releasing it back into the wild to fend for itself.

Letter 14 – Fiery Searcher

 

Mystery Scarab Beetle at Env. Charter School
Location: Lutz, Florida
February 29, 2012 3:51 pm
Dear Bugman,
I teach at an Environmental Charter School in Lutz, Florida (just north of Tampa). One of our 5th grade students found this beetle walking around the campus last week. Since then, a number of others have been seen by students in other grades.
We did some research and think it is a member of the Euphoria genus of Scarab beetles. Can you tell us any more about it?
Thanks for all your hard work. We LOVE the website!
Regards,
Jim McGinity
Learning Gate Community School
Lutz, FL
Signature: Jim McGinity

Fiery Searcher

Dear Jim,
Your beetle is a Ground Beetle, not a Scarab.  More specifically, it is a Fiery Searcher,
Calosoma scrutator, one of the Caterpillar Hunters.  According to BugGuide:  “Life cycle is one year, but adults long-lived, reported to live for up to three years. Adults attracted to lights. Eggs are laid singly in soil. Larvae pupate in earthen cells. Adults can overwinter.”

Thanks so much, Daniel.  The students are finding them all around the campus and with the bright colors they really attract attention.
Have a great day!
Jim

Letter 15 – Fiery Searcher

 

Big Psychedelic Beetle
Location: Indian Land, South Carolina
March 23, 2012 9:32 pm
I saw this very large beetle scurrying about on the sidewalk in a parking lot in Indian Land, South Carolina (just south of Charlotte NC) today. Iridescent shell, the head was blue – and he was very lightweight – I scooped him up to try to snap a photo that would give a better perspective of his size, but he was a surprisingly fast crawler. Definitely not a denizen of a damp forest muck. Two photos attached – one is simply a zoom of the original. This one’s got me stumped.
Signature: Chris

Fiery Searcher

Hi Chris,
This beautiful beetle is one of the Caterpillar Hunters in the genus
Calosoma.  It is Calosoma scrutator, and it is commonly called the Fiery Searcher.  Both adults and larvae are ravenous feeders that eat caterpillars.  See BugGuide for additional information.

Thanks VERY much!  I spent about half an hour trying to ID it myself before submitting the query.  Really appreciate the help!
All the best,
Chris

Letter 16 – Fiery Searcher

 

Kindergarten show and tell
Location: Gaston county NC
April 17, 2012 9:24 am
Dear Mr Bugman,
We found a visitor in our classroom tadpole project. The children would like to know what kind of bug he is, what he eats, and does he bite? The children were very excited when he showed his hidden wings. Thank you!
Signature: Mrs M and class

Fiery Searcher

Dear Mrs M and class,
This gorgeous predator is a Caterpillar Hunter known as a Fiery Searcher,
Calosoma scrutator.  Both adults and larvae feed ravenously on caterpillars.  You can read more about the Fiery Searcher on BugGuide

Thanks for telling us about fiery searcher.  We looked it up and discovered they like the eastern tent moth cat. that our playground is covered with.  It wasn’t long before all the kids were hollering, ” Mrs M, He bit his head off.”  Every insect book I have is now flying off the shelf.  Thanks, Mrs M

We are very happy to hear the youngsters are now so interested in insects.

Letter 17 – Fiery Searcher

 

Subject: what kind of beetle is this?
Location: West central Missouri
May 13, 2013 7:19 am
A student found this beetle near our school and brought it in so that my lizard could eat it–I did not feed it to my Bearded Dragon. The bug is about 3cm long, and is a beautiful emerald green. There is a gold ring around the top of the thorax. The bug was found on May 10, 2013
Signature: Ms. Crocker

Fiery Searcher
Fiery Searcher

Dear Ms. Crocker,
This Caterpillar Hunter is commonly called a Fiery Searcher.

Letter 18 – Fiery Searcher

 

Subject: Colorful beetle
Location: Chicago area
May 19, 2014 1:27 pm
I had this bug sitting on my deck for hours this weekend. Can you identify it? Date was 5/18/14 in the Chicago area.
The colors were beautiful but I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was approx. 2.5″-3″ long.
Signature: LP

Fiery Searcher
Fiery Searcher

Dear LP,
This beautiful species of Caterpillar Hunter is known as a Fiery Searcher.  We wish you had sent a higher resolution image.

Letter 19 – Fiery Searcher

 

Subject: please help me identify this beetle
Location: Round Rock, TX
April 6, 2015 8:41 am
Goodmorning, my name is Summer and I need some help identifying this beetle that either bit or sprayed my boyfriends closed eye when he accidentally wiped his face with a towel that the bug was in. His eye has a slight blister on it, he’s feeling ok, and it burns. I live in Round Rock Texas, in a newer townhouse. Slightly rural-ish area. Thank you so much for all that you do. Have a good day;)
Signature: -Summer from Texas

Fiery Searcher
Fiery Searcher

Dear Summer,
This effective predator is a Caterpillar Hunter commonly called a Fiery Searcher,
Calosoma scrutator.  It is entirely possible that a bite might have occurred, and though the bite lacks venom, a sensitive place like the eye might cause the reaction you indicated.

Letter 20 – Fiery Searcher

 

Subject: Giant Beetle!
Location: Tennessee
June 10, 2015 3:00 pm
One inch long, half inch wide beetle with black head, blue mid-body edged in red, and green back body edged in red. Underside was primarily red with gold accents. Black legs. Iridescent. Noticeable chompers.
Signature: Heather from Hail

Fiery Searcher
Fiery Searcher

Hi Heather,
We believe your harmless Caterpillar Hunter is a Fiery Searcher.

Letter 21 – Fiery Searcher

 

Subject: Strange Rainbow Colored Beetle
Location: Northern Indiana
June 26, 2015 8:18 am
Hello! My mother found this weird beetle trying to get in our back door this morning. I’ve never seen a bug like this, and I’m wondering what it is. Please help!
Signature: -Cecilia

Fiery Searcher
Fiery Searcher

Dear Cecilia,
This beautiful Caterpillar Hunter is known as a Fiery Searcher,
Calosoma scrutator.

Letter 22 – Fiery Searcher

 

Subject: What’s green and black with a red stripe?
Location: Fairfax, Virginia
May 18, 2016 9:22 am
After deciding he wasn’t an emeral ash borer i let this guy continue walking in tne parking lot in Northern Virginia. He’s about an inch long. Any ideas what he is?
Signature: Amy

Fiery Searcher
Fiery Searcher

Dear Amy,
The Emerald Ash Borer is a very small insect.  This gorgeous Ground Beetle is one of the Caterpillar Hunters that goes by the name Fiery Searcher,
 Calosoma scrutator.  Both larvae and adults voraciously eat caterpillars, and according to BugGuide:  “Adults will climb trees in search of their prey.”

Thank you! Now I wish I had helped him over to a tree instead of leaving him amble across the parking lot.
I keep hearing in the news about emerald ash borers being pretty green “bugs” that are devastating, but all I knew was to look out for green insects that may or may not be true bugs. I’m glad your site was there to let me know he wasn’t one of those!
Best,
Amy

Letter 23 – Fiery Searcher

 

Subject:  Large green beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Northwest indiana
Date: 09/08/2018
Time: 01:45 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I have been unable to find a matching picture of this large bettle
How you want your letter signed:  Laura Redenbaugh

Fiery Searcher

Dear Laura,
Commonly called a Fiery Searcher,
Calosoma scrutator is one of the Ground Beetles known as Caterpillar Hunters.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults and larvae prey on caterpillars. Adults will climb trees in search of their prey.”

Letter 24 – Fiery Searcher Carnage

 

Subject: Identify beetle
Location: Se michigan
June 5, 2015 8:02 pm
Could you please identify this beetle found near wooden pallets.
Thank you
Signature: Chris

Who or What Killed the Fiery Searcher???
Who or What Killed the Fiery Searcher???

Dear Chris,
This magnificent Ground Beetle is a Caterpillar Hunter commonly called a Fiery Searcher,
Calosoma scrutator, and it is considered a beneficial insect.  Predatory Fiery Searchers help to control populations of caterpillars and other insects, and though you did not specify how this individual met its death, it appears to be Unnecessary Carnage.  One of our missions is to educate our readers about the importance of the interconnectivity of all life on our planet, and to urge our readership to learn to appreciate and tolerate the native bugs that though they may appear scary, are actually quite harmless, like this gorgeous Fiery Searcher.

Letter 25 – Fiery Searcher found Dead

 

Subject: What is this?? Green Beetle
Location: Omaha, Nebraska near Missouri River
July 15, 2014 12:27 pm
Howdy there, found this gem at work, it was dead when I found it. It has characteristics of other green beetles, but have not found a match. I live outside of Omaha, Nebraska today’s date is 07/15/14
Signature: Thank you for your time! Joe

Fiery Searcher
Fiery Searcher

Hi Joe,
This is a Caterpillar Hunter known as a Fiery Searcher, and both adults and larvae are important predators that control the numbers of caterpillars.
  We received an account earlier this year of large numbers of Fiery Searchers in Missouri.

Letter 26 – Fiery Searchers

 

Subject: what kind of ground beetle?
Location: Hermann, Missouri
May 8, 2014 2:53 pm
These were dashing across the driveway this afternoon. I’d never seen them before so I grabbed a few….deciding that of they were something good I’d deliver them back. And if they were some invasive non-native i’d not let them live. Turns out they’re ground beetles of some sort, though what variety i couldn’t discover. And purportedly beneficial, so they all went back to the driveway. Apparantly nocturnal (?is this variety??) If so, that’d explain why i’ve never seen them before. So, if they are nocturnal, why be bright bodied? (undersides are iridescent) There’s gotta be a reason why they’re so bright and i think THAT reason is what i observed today! …. mating! our driveway is mostly creek gravel (orangish brown) with areas of limestone rock, which is white. Most of these were running up and down and across the white part of the driveway. i figure it is som
Signature: Eight Pond Farm

Fiery Searchers
Fiery Searchers

Dear Eight Pond Farm,
This is the second report we have gotten today of large numbers of Caterpillar Hunters.  The other was from Virginia.  Your Caterpillar Hunters are Fiery Searchers,
Calosoma scrutator.  They are indeed beneficial predators.

i shot a video of them all skittling about in the bucket.   wanna see it?
btw…  today, there were a few crossing the driveway, but yesterday was THE biggie!
connie

Letter 27 – Scent and the Power of Pheromones: Fiery Skippers

 

Hi again Daniel,
Here’s a shot of a couple of fiery skippers engaged in who knows what. I’m assuming the male on the right is checking the female to see if she is ready to mate. I never saw any mating going on. The female worked her way around the flower stopping now and then to vibrate her abdomen and wings with the male close behind. I’ve been seeing this behavior for several days and finally was able to get a shot of it. Photographed in Atlanta, GA on 8/6/05.
Bill DuPree
Atlanta, GA

Hi again Bill,
Your images are always such a treat. All you have to do is look and the money we spend on perfumes and colognes to know that scent is an aphrodesiac. Your Fiery Skippers are relying on natural pheromones as an aphrodesiac.

Authors

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  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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16 thoughts on “Fiery Searcher: All You Need to Know in 5 Minutes”

    • Thanks for the correction Markikavana. At least we had the tribe correct. BugGuide also has nice images of the European Ground Beetle, Carabus nemoralis.

      Reply
  1. These beetles also can emit a very unpleasant odor. We came across one in one of the isles of a retail store one evening. It ran very quickly. My daughter was about 8 at the time, and she picked up a cup from one of the shelves and put it over top of the beetle to “capture it” (this is an absolute necessity to an 8-year-old bug lover). Then that odor hit our nostrils. Wow, it was bad! Like a harsh metallic smell mixed with something else I really can’t even describe. Very potent. We couldn’t believe something so small could be so stinky. Very interesting beetles.

    Reply
  2. I found one downtown! Just chillin near a window scared me half to death! 🙁 poor beatle though my friend stomped on im :'(
    But what on earth was he doing in the middle of the City downtown Chicago?? I thought Fiery Searchers stay in areas that have more grass and rocks and dirt ect.
    Also I seen it around the end of summer 2013

    Reply
  3. I found one downtown! Just chillin near a window scared me half to death! 🙁 poor beatle though my friend stomped on im :'(
    But what on earth was he doing in the middle of the City downtown Chicago?? I thought Fiery Searchers stay in areas that have more grass and rocks and dirt ect.
    Also I seen it around the end of summer 2013

    Reply
  4. I had 3 of these in my room on the 4th floor of the Hampton Inn in Broken Arrow, OK. They have some scary pinchers!! I have no idea how they got in unless it was through the air conditioner somehow.

    Reply
  5. I am in Holts Summit, MO and we are also over run with these ground beetles. I am going to assume it is because we are also over run with caterpillars. Everywhere you look they are hanging from the trees.

    Reply
  6. I looked up this beetle because I’ve seen 5 in the last 4 days dead or seemingly dead in my yard. 3 were in the morning near each other. 1 I just saw on my deck but I think it was just upside down and I think flew off while I wasn’t looking. Is there some reason I would find a few dead or looking dead lately?

    Reply
    • Without a thorough investigation, we cannot determine why you are finding dead Fiery Searchers. Perhaps they ate poisoned caterpillars, were poisoned on their own, or died of old age.

      Reply
  7. Hi Annette! It’s Tyler from SoFo.
    I was just researching this beetle and stumbled upon your post, beautiful animal! I would love to see more of these out here.
    I searched for them because it’s been a heavy year for Gypsy Moth and Tent Caterpillars so I was looking into their natural predators.
    I have even heard of people spraying chemicals into TREES to get rid of caterpillars instead of relying on natural control, which we all know just makes the problem worse in the long run.

    I’d love to find a way to help this beetle regain a stable population on the East End. There is plenty of food for them!

    -Tyler

    Reply
  8. Hi Annette! It’s Tyler from SoFo.
    I was just researching this beetle and stumbled upon your post, beautiful animal! I would love to see more of these out here.
    I searched for them because it’s been a heavy year for Gypsy Moth and Tent Caterpillars so I was looking into their natural predators.
    I have even heard of people spraying chemicals into TREES to get rid of caterpillars instead of relying on natural control, which we all know just makes the problem worse in the long run.

    I’d love to find a way to help this beetle regain a stable population on the East End. There is plenty of food for them!

    -Tyler

    Reply

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